ANKARA/MOSCOW Turkey shot down a Russian warplane close to the Syrian border on Tuesday, saying the jet had violated its air space, in 1 of the most significant publicly acknowledged clashes amongst a NATO member nation and Russia for half a century.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the plane had been attacked when it was 1 km (.62 mile) inside Syria and warned of “serious consequences” for what he termed a stab in the back administered by “the accomplices of terrorists”.
“We will never tolerate such crimes like the one committed these days,” Putin stated, as Russian and Turkish shares fell on fears of an escalation amongst the former Cold War enemies.
In a letter to the U.N. Safety Council, Turkey stated it had shot down the jet whilst in Turkish air space. Along with a second plane, the aircraft had flown a lot more than a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds, regardless of being warned 10 times in five minutes whilst approaching to modify path, the letter mentioned.
“No one need to doubt that we created our ideal efforts to stay away from this newest incident. But everybody must respect the proper of Turkey to defend its borders,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan mentioned in a speech in Ankara.
In condemnation of Russian air strikes in Syria, for the duration of which Turkish air space has been violated several instances in current weeks, Erdogan said that only Turkey’s “cool-headedness” had prevented worse incidents in the past.
Every single country summoned a diplomatic representative of the other. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov canceled a pay a visit to to Turkey due on Wednesday and the defense ministry stated it was preparing measures to respond to such incidents.
U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande, meeting in Washington, urged against an escalation, while NATO Secretary-Common Jens Stoltenberg stated the military alliance stood in solidarity with Turkey.
Footage from private Turkish broadcaster Haberturk Television showed the warplane going down in flames, a lengthy plume of smoke trailing behind it as it crashed in a wooded portion of an location the Tv mentioned was recognized by Turks as “Turkmen Mountain”.
Separate footage from Turkey’s Anadolu Agency showed two pilots parachuting out of the jet ahead of it crashed.
A deputy commander of rebel Turkmen forces in Syria mentioned his guys shot both pilots dead as they came down. The Russian military confirmed one particular pilot had been shot dead from the ground and yet another soldier died in the course of a rescue operation.
A senior Turkish official said at least 1 of the pilots could nevertheless be alive. “It is not a reality but a possibility. We’re trying to confirm the data and taking all essential steps to facilitate their return,” the official mentioned.
A video sent to Reuters earlier appeared to show one of the pilots immobile and badly wounded on the ground.
Russia’s defense ministry mentioned one of its Su-24 fighter jets had been downed in Syria and that “for the whole duration of the flight, the aircraft was exclusively over Syrian territory”, a suggestion Turkey denied.
“The information we have is extremely clear. There were two planes approaching our border, we warned them as they had been getting too close,” yet another senior Turkish official told Reuters. “Our findings show clearly that Turkish air space was violated a number of instances. And they violated it knowingly.”
A U.S. military spokesman said it was an situation between the Turkish and Russian governments and that U.S.-led coalition operations in Syria and Iraq were continuing “as planned”.
Moscow’s choice to launch separate air strikes in Syria signifies Russian and NATO planes have been flying combat missions in the exact same air space for the initial time given that Globe War Two, targeting a variety of insurgent groups close to Turkish borders.
Russia’s military involvement in Syria has brought losses, like the bombing by militants of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt. But there is no sign but that public opinion is turning against the operation in Syria and the Kremlin said it would continue.
Rather Moscow, helped by state-controlled television, has utilized these reverses to rally public opinion, portraying the campaign as a moral crusade that Russia have to comprehensive, regardless of indifference or obstruction from elsewhere.
A U.S. official said U.S. forces had been not involved in the downing of the Russian jet, which was the first time a Russian or Soviet military aircraft has been publicly acknowledged to have been shot down by a NATO member given that the 1950s.
The incident appeared to scupper hopes of a rapprochement in between Russia and the West in the wake of the Islamic State attacks in Paris, which had led to calls for a united front against the jihadist group in Syria.
Russia’s main stock index fell a lot more than two percent, although Turkish stocks fell far more than 4 %. Both the rouble and lira currencies have been weaker.
Lavrov advised Russians not to check out Turkey and one particular of Russia’s biggest tour operators to the nation mentioned it would temporarily suspend sales of trips.
SHOT AS THEY FELL
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group stated the warplane crashed in a mountainous location in the northern countryside of Latakia province, exactly where there had been aerial bombardment earlier and where pro-government forces have been battling insurgents on the ground.
“A Russian pilot,” a voice is heard saying in the video sent to Reuters as guys collect around the man on the ground. “God is fantastic,” is also heard.
The rebel group that sent the video operates in the northwestern region of Syria, where groups such as the Free Syrian Army are active but Islamic State, which has beheaded captives in the previous, has no recognized presence.
A deputy commander of a Turkmen brigade told reporters on a trip organized by Turkish authorities that his forces had shot both pilots dead as they descended.
“Our comrades opened fire into the air and they died in the air,” Alpaslan Celik said close to the Syrian village of Yamadi, holding what he stated was a piece of a pilot’s parachute.
In a additional sign of a developing fallout over Syria, Syrian rebel fighters who have received U.S. arms mentioned they fired at a Russian helicopter, forcing it to land in territory held by Moscow’s Syrian government allies.
Turkey known as this week for a U.N. Safety Council meeting to go over attacks on Turkmens, who are Syrians of Turkish descent, and last week Ankara summoned the Russian ambassador to protest against the bombing of their villages.
About 1,700 folks have fled the mountainous area due to fighting in the final three days, a Turkish official said on Monday. Russian jets have bombed the location in help of ground operations by Syrian government forces.
(Extra reporting by Mehmet Emin Caliskan in Yamadi, Syria Humeyra Pamuk, Daren Butler, Melih Aslan and Asli Kandemir in Istanbul, Orhan Coskun in Ankara Maria Kiselyova and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow Tom Perry and Sylvia Westall in Beirut Guy Faulconbridge in London Michelle Nichols in New York, Robin Emmott in Brussels, Roberta Rampton in Washington Writing by Nick Tattersall and David Dolan Editing by Andrew Heavens, Philippa Fletcher and David Stamp)
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